Professor joins lawsuit to end cash bail in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, the overall crime rate rose by 11% from 2021 to 2022.

Professor Cohen has joined in a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, and the LAPD.

Rabbi and Rabbinic Literature Professor Aryeh Cohen of the American Jewish University is pushing back against using cash bail in Los Angeles, Calif., and other major American cities. In April, Cohen joined other religious officials in suing the County and City of Los Angeles, as well as the Los Angeles Police Department. 

In May, a judge ordered a preliminary injunction resulting in the reinstatement of a county ban on the use of cash bail that was first enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before its expiration in July 2022, the ban on cash bail applied primarily to those arrested for misdemeanors like theft and drug use to reduce the alleged overcrowding of prisons.

In Los Angeles, where American Jewish University is located, the overall crime rate rose by 11% from 2021 to 2022.

[RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: University promotes ‘Defund the Police?’ class]

In July, rapper 50 Cent made headlines when he publicly declared that Los Angeles was “finished” in reference to the May reinstatement of the city’s no-bail policy per the preliminary injunction.

LA is finished,” the rapper wrote in an Instagram post reacting to the news. “Watch how bad it gets out there. SMH [shaking my head].”

In a recent op-ed for LGBTQ news site, the Los Angeles Blade, Cohen argued that cash bail is not only “unconstitutional,” but also “unjust.” 

“Our criminal legal system is tainted. It is broken. It is unjust,” he wrote.

“The point of our lawsuit is to stop the practice of keeping people in jail before they have been found guilty of any crime just because they cannot pay the amount of money that is set by LA’s uniform bail schedules,” he noted.

[RELATED: WATCH: Students more concerned about risk from armed police than criminals]

Cohen told Campus Reform that, “I got involved in the lawsuit because I am appalled at the fact that people are kept in jail in terrible inhumane conditions without having been convicted of any crime, just because they cannot pay to go home.” 

He also asserted that “the existence of cash bail has been associated with an increase in recidivism,” and that “[t]here is no crime wave in New York.” 

According to New York City State crime statistics, the overall crime rate in New York City in 2022 was 31.1% higher than the previous year. The violent crime rate was 18.2% higher than the previous year.

Follow Courtney McLain on Twitter.